Maybe Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears aren’t set for a divorce.
With Cutler’s season in doubt after a shoulder injury, the common thought around the situation was Chicago’s moving on from the veteran quarterback, likely in favor of a rookie. The last bit of Cutler’s guaranteed money comes this year, so it would make sense for the team to move on with the rebuild.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport suggests otherwise:
Although the Bears tried to trade him a few years back — and coach John Fox clearly is not his biggest fan — there’s no guarantee they’ll improve at the position next year. The draft is considered a very weak one at the quarterback position. Brian Hoyer has impressed as his backup and would’ve kept the starting job had he not suffered a broken forearm. But his contract is up after this season, and he could be lured away.
Drafting and throwing a rookie to the fire isn’t always the best move at the NFL level. With Cutler’s contract only paying him $12.5 million next year, his sticking around as a starter while the rookie learns or even acting as a veteran leader off the bench isn’t such a terrible idea.
Besides, Cutler himself has to see the writing on the wall: he’s now 33 years old and can’t stay healthy. Few teams might offer him a starting gig at all, let alone the cash he’ll make next year in Chicago.
While it is easy to throw blame on Cutler for Chicago’s struggles, it doesn’t mean the organization is ready to let him go. The situation just makes the Bears one of the most interesting teams to watch in the offseason.